New pictures: Aviv Alush as Jesus in The Shack, Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus with Rooney Mara in Mary Magdalene

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Jesus will be on the big screen in at least two movies next year, and if you want to get a sense of what he will look like, we now have new pictures from both films.

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The Birth of a Nation and the problem of religious violence

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Just a few quick thoughts about the depiction of violence and religion in Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, which tells the story of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion in 1830s Virginia.

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Chiwetel Ejiofor to play the apostle Peter in Mary Magdalene

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With Rooney Mara playing Mary Magdalene and Joaquin Phoenix playing Jesus, there has been some concern that Garth Davis’s Mary Magdalene movie might give us yet another “whitewashed” version of the New Testament. But this latest bit of news could put that to rest: Deadline reports that Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was Oscar-nominated for his starring role in 12 Years a Slave, is in talks to play the apostle Peter.

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A virtual-reality Jesus movie is coming this Christmas from the makers of Left Behind and The Passion of the Christ

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The Jesus-movie genre is branching into a couple of high-tech formats this year.

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John Rhys-Davies is the apostle Peter, and Stephen Baldwin is the emperor Nero, in Peter: The Redemption

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Last year, I noted that two Bible movies were being filmed in northern Ontario.

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Exclusive: Patrick and Paul Aiello on the making of Risen

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Risen — which stars Joseph Fiennes as a fictitious Roman officer who goes looking for the missing body of Jesus — is out on DVD and Blu-Ray today. Last week I had a chance to speak to Patrick Aiello, the producer who first started developing the film nearly a decade ago, and his brother Paul, who co-wrote the script.

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